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Written by Cheryl.

Okay, let's set the scene: it's a cold Friday afternoon in February, and there's a minivan filled with seven not-so-silent females and lots of cargo. We're all on our way to an annual winter camping trip in upstate NY that's been planned for months. I hopped in the driver's seat, turned on the radio, and got ready to put on my Green Day flavor of the day, only to grudgingly remember one of the females in the car was a friend, sitting in the passenger seat, and probably expected me to converse with her. Well, thirty minutes and one vomiting child later, we were pulled over in the parking lot of the B.K. Lounge. I, cleaning up as best I could and hoping that it was an isolated incident, waited while my friend called for backup. What does this have to do with Green Day? Well, backup came, we transferred cargo and passengers, I dropped the vomiting kid back at home, and the next morning, I found myself alone with American Idiot.

I was all by myself with the album for two hours - a perfect opportunity to let loose, blast the music all the way up, and sing along at the top of my lungs with one of my all-time favorite albums. I hadn't listened to it in its entirety for a while, so I decided to reacquaint myself with those 13 songs from beginning to end with the volume dial turned to 40. Yeah, it goes past 10 nowadays, haha, and hell, there is nothing like super-loud rock music confined in a small space to revive your soul.

As I drove up north, I listened to the much loved and familiar lyrics, from "I don't wanna be an American Idiot" to "Forgetting you but not the time," and I felt as if I was visiting an old, comfortable friend. I sang along like I always do, pretended the steering wheel was a snare drum, and bounced around in the seat of the car like a complete dork. There's nothing like head banging at 70mph in a minivan to "St. Jimmy!" I can just imagine what it must look like from the outside - Billie Joe certainly wrote that "loser" comment about me! And yes, if you must know, I am good at it, getting better all the time.

Every crevice of that space was filled with the sounds of Billie, Mike, and Tré; there was no escaping, and I gladly surrendered. I invited it to permeate me as I have done so many times before - the music was alive, and that's how it made me feel. It invaded my thoughts, my mind, and my soul so deeply, forcing me to immerse myself into that pool of emotions that only Billie Joe seems to be able to create so effortlessly. I got lost somewhere between that Suburban Jesus and Whatsername, bringing me to that "somewhere else," anywhere but here, almost as if I've intruded into something I shouldn't be part of but want to be so desperately. Probably needles to say, but you know I have to: it blew me away like it does every single time.

American Idiot is one of those classics that no matter how much time goes by, you can dust it off, pop it in the CD player, and it brings you right back to the first time you allowed it to touch you. I wonder if anything will ever come close to that kind of brilliance again? I wonder if any other piece of music, any other artist, any other anything will come close to making me feel the way that listening to American Idiot makes me feel? How do the boys follow up that act? Some call American Idiot a masterpiece, and personally, I don't think there is a better word out there to describe it. Unless you add "fucking" in front of "masterpiece," but after the "too many swear words" comments on my last editorial, I probably should just leave it alone. So, American Idiot is simply a masterpiece.

Last week, Green Day fans were happily and joyously inundated with an almost overwhelming flow of new album information after a long and sorta painful wait. We now have an actual (and in my opinion, awesome) title: 21st Century Breakdown, an approximate release date, a personal appearance by the trio at the Grammys, cool artwork for the album cover, and even a very short snippet of a new song. This brief little one minute, twenty-three second clip made quite a stir around the Green Day Community, and was, for the most part, positively and ecstatically received. I downloaded it myself and listened to it on my pc with headphones, and I just let it go on - over and over it played. My first impression was a good one, and I loved it, goose bumps and all. It sounded classic, it sounded clean, it sounded antiqued but on the verge of a new frontier for the band. It made this excitement swell up in me that's been dormant for a while and it certainly had me desperate for more! What the fuck? Do they know what good teases they are? Do they like doing this to us? Haha - of course they do! We are all itching for whatever we can get, and we are grateful for it. But on the other hand, we want everything, and we want it right this fucking instant!

Not everyone was as ecstatic as I was about the new music though - there were plenty of comments from forumers/fans to the contrary, and honestly, all of the negativity got under my skin. So what if "ppl get like a couple of five year olds in a candy shop over this teaser" or "are WAY to much stoked by this teaser"? You really wanna know how we can all get so excited by this, the one line Billie Joe sings, or the two chords that ring for over a minute? It's passion. Passion for the music, passion for the greatest rock band in the world, passion for the lyrics, passion for the one-minute-and-twenty-three-second teaser, because although it is a minute piece of the pie, it is so very satisfying and fulfilling. You can't help the way something makes you feel, even if that something is very small. Does that make me one of those "closed-minded, swallow-everything-Green-Day-throws-at-me-whole-with-a-smile-on-my-face" fans? All I know is that that little bit of music that was thrown our way last week gave me back a little bit of that AI feeling, and good God, that is one of the best feelings in the world. I cannot wait to feel the rest of 21st Century Breakdown.

I am passionate about this music, about Green Day, about defending them, even though they probably don't need defending. And y'know, they probably don't give a shit about what any GDC person, or any person for that matter, thinks anyway. Billie Joe himself said something pertinent to the issue, and I can share it with you, thanks to another GDCer who dug this up from the Nimrod era. She said that it applies to all of this, and I have to agree. "What annoys the hell out of me is the arrogance of some people. They don't even listen to our music, they decided in advance that they don't like it. You know, even before we finished the album, before anybody ever heard just one track, some people decided that it will suck. I don't give a shit about them. If they can't appreciate good music, it's their own fault."

So, even though I haven't heard the complete album yet or even a whole song, I can honestly say that just from the short snippet, I can appreciate it, I can feel it, I can love it. I already do: from the crackling sound of the radio station being tuned to the closing crescendo notes that leave you wondering what's gonna explode from your speakers in the next measure. Whatever 21st Century Breakdown sounds like collectively, it will be simply amazing, I'm sure, but it will also be simply good music because that's what Green Day does. They give us the gift of good music. I can appreciate that, and I know a lot of others who can, too.

The waiting is over, fellow Green Day fans - the dawning of a new Green Day era is here.
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